In Pocket now on GoodReads and Amazon.

In PocketIn Pocket by Martyn V. Halm

As the author, of course I cannot rate or review my own work. What I can do is give you, the potential reader, some background information about In Pocket.

About twenty years ago, when I was working on what was to become Reprobate: A Katla Novel, I had a half-finished story on a busker who lived in a delivery van and pretended to be blind in order to rake in more money. As such, Wolfgang was the only one who saw a murder by assassin Katla Sieltjes, who promptly started hunting him down to shut him up.

The story didn’t work and I wrote a new story with Katla as the protagonist, who breaks her rule of never leaving a witness alive when blind busker Bram Merleyn enters her crime scene. Readers of the Amsterdam Assassin Series know what happened after that, so I’m not going to rehash that story.

In the meantime, Wolfgang was still living in his van with his pet rat Gabriel, but he changed from busker to pickpocket, and acquired a heroin addiction (being one of my characters can be very taxing).

I often write on several projects at the same time, and I kept adding to the story of Wolfgang the pickpocket until it reached critical mass, all the pieces fell together, and In Pocket almost wrote itself.

In Pocket is a stand-alone novel, but it has some connections with the Amsterdam Assassin Series beyond the same locations – if you read carefully, you will find cameos from characters that also appear in the series.

I make free e-book review copies available to readers who want to review In Pocket on GoodReads and retailer sites. To get your hands on a free review copy, send an email to katlasieltjes@yahoo.com with ‘review copy In Pocket’ in the subject line.

View all my reviews

In Pocket cover by Farah Evers


REVIEW: How Do You Deal With Negative Reviews?

Can You ‘Deal’ With Negative Reviews?

I don’t ‘deal’ with negative reviews, since there’s nothing to deal with. A negative review is the opinion of a reader, intended to express their feelings about your work to other readers (not, I repeat, not to you, the author, because that is what ‘feedback’ is for). By the way, I make a distinction between a negative review (where the reviewer criticizes the book) and a bad review (where the reviewer criticizes the author).

I read all the reviews I can find. Not because I like to flagellate myself, but I’m interested in the opinions of my readers, even if they don’t contact me directly. Sometimes you can glean information that might help you avoid a scathing review in the future. File that nugget and go on your way.

The one thing you should never, ever do, is try to convince the reviewer that they are erroneous in their opinion. That has about 0.001% of actually succeeding.

You write a book, but you publish a product. If the product is good, then the ratio of negative to positive reviews will be low. If it sucks, the majority of your reviews will suck. You control the product, not the opinion. If you cannot live with the negative reviews, pull the product.

Personally, I don’t want to give a negative reviewer extra power by becoming upset. Reviews are like the weather, you don’t know what you’re going to get. It’s more useful to carry an umbrella than to become angry at the sky for the rain.

There is no book that receives 100% positive reviews. And that is good. Because a book that pleases everyone is probably not worth reading.

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ARC In Pocket, now available for reviewers.

Are you a book reviewer and interested in an ARC of In Pocket? Send an email with ‘ARC reviewer In Pocket’, and maybe you can get In Pocket a month early (publication date August 1st).

Picking the wrong pocket might prove fatal…

Nomadic pickpocket Wolfgang gets blackmailed into teaching his craft to the mysterious Lilith, a young woman with no aptitude whatsoever to become a pickpocket. Wolf figures the easiest way is to go with the flow and instruct Lilith in the art of emptying other people’s pockets, but even he could never foresee the dreadful consequences…

IN POCKET is a standalone novel by Martyn V. Halm, the author of the Amsterdam Assassin Series. Follow Wolf as he gets entangled in a possibly fatal web of violence and deceit, where nobody is who they seem to be and everyone has a hidden agenda.

In Pocket cover by Farah Evers

Just as a reminder – I will experiment with pre-orders for In Pocket, so the ebook will be available at pre-order for the low, low price of 99c (for those who like the ebook without strings attached), but only until the publication date, when the book will become the (still cheap) price of 2.99.

So follow my blog and get a two dollar discount when you pre-order In Pocket before August 1st!


‘In Pocket’ won a new cover

While my stand-alone noir novel In Pocket went through the beta-testing, I submitted the cover I had to the 2015 E-Book Cover Makeover Contest, and I won a spanking new cover.

Before:

1400px-inpocket

New cover, courtesy of Farah Evers Design:

In Pocket cover by Farah Evers

You can find information on the contest here. The pitch for In Pocket:

Picking the wrong pocket might prove fatal…

Nomadic pickpocket Wolfgang gets blackmailed into teaching his craft to the mysterious Lilith, a young woman with no aptitude whatsoever to become a pickpocket. Wolf figures the easiest way is to go with the flow and instruct Lilith in the art of emptying other people’s pockets, but even he could never foresee the dreadful consequences…

IN POCKET is a standalone novel by Martyn V. Halm, the author of the Amsterdam Assassin Series. Follow Wolf as he gets entangled in a possibly fatal web of violence and deceit, where nobody is who they seem to be and everyone has a hidden agenda.

I hope to publish In Pocket before the end of this month.


PUBLISHING: To DRM or not to DRM, is that really the question?

I found that many authors, especially the self-publishing authors, are confused by Digital Rights Management, thinking that DRM is necessary in order to prevent your work from being pirated.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Let’s start with putting Digital Right Management into laymen’s terms.
Digital Rights Management is software added to intellectual property in order to limit the user in sharing the property.
Well, that sounds fine, doesn’t it? When the buyer of your e-book downloads the file from the retailer, they can read the e-book on their e-reader, but they won’t be able to give a copy of the book to their friends, who will have to buy their own copies.
Excellent.
Except that it isn’t ‘excellent’. What happens is that producers of content limit legitimate users from using the product across several devices. You can listen to the compact disc on your compact disc players, but you cannot rip the CD to iTunes for listening to the music on your iPod. You can read the e-book on your e-reader, but not on your smartphone, but the smartphone wasn’t registered as an e-reading device by the retailer…
Yes, but at least my book won’t be pirated!
Sure, delude yourself that clunky DRM software will scare off any pirate. Pirating sites have counter software that strips the DRM from your book in a matter of seconds. Thinking that adding DRM to your book will render it safe from piracy is like thinking a home invader will pass on your home because you installed a motion-detector with spotlight on your front door while your backdoor is wide open.
But I don’t want my work to be pirated!
Face it, if someone wants to get their hands on your book and distribute it illegally, there’s not much you can do about it. DRM certainly won’t do the trick, so putting DRM on your book will only annoy your legitimate readers who won’t be able to read your book across multiple devices.
You simply don’t care about getting pirated!
I do. I don’t think it’s fair to steal a book I worked on and hope to sell in order to free up time to write more books. At the same time, I’m a realist. I can’t stop piracy, I can’t force people to pay for my work. Still, you have the consider the following: if your book gets pirated and downloaded a 1000 times, that doesn’t mean you miss out on a 1000 sales. Readers who frequent pirate sites to get their hands on your books are not the kind of upstanding citizens who would go to a retailer and pay for your book.
They are not your readers. Your readers are the ones who go to Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Nook, iBooks, wherever, to legitimately download your book. They do so, because they hope you will write more books for them to enjoy, and they know that you need to get paid for your work, or you’ll have to get a job that actually pays the bills but cuts into your writing time, thus resulting in less frequent publications for them to enjoy.
What’s more, while the people who frequent pirate sites might not be your readers now, they might become your readers in the future.
While that sounds paradoxical, think about loss-leaders.
Whenever you go to a supermarket and someone offers you a sample of a new product, they do that with the express purpose to get you hooked on their product, hoping the sample will get you to buy the product at full price.
Like many authors, I’ve put out some work for free or almost free, with only one purpose in mind – to get readers hooked on my work. Readers like free stuff, but if they really like the free stuff and they get interested in what the author offers, they are more than willing to spend money on keeping that writer to put out more of the stuff they enjoy.
So don’t worry too much about your books getting pirated. Sure, it sucks that someone tries to profit from your hard work, but it won’t harm your actual sales, and the free downloads might actually engage a reader who realizes that you’re being screwed out of your money, and get that reader to support you by eschewing pirate sites and legitimately downloading your work.
I have a contract with my readers. At less than the price of a cinema ticket, I will tell them a story, giving them the opportunity to go on an adventure with me for a couple of hours, make them think, give them characters who will live in their minds, give them stories that will thrill and excite them. And I will keep on doing that for as long as I’m able, whether I can live on the proceeds of my work or not.
But if I can’t live from selling my work, I will have to find other means of income, which will cut into the time I can spend writing my stories.
So, dear reader, if you really enjoy an author’s work, honor the contract and pay them for their hard work, so they can continue to entertain you.
The only way pirate sites are going to disappear is when readers simply won’t download pirated works anymore.

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PUBLISHING: Can You Find The Differences?

My cover designer, Farah Evers, updated my covers to make them more legible at a smaller size. I replaced the covers on Amazon, iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook, Scribd, and all other retailers.

Here are the old covers (left) and the new covers (right).

REPROBATEREPROBATE 2

PECCADILLOPECCADILLO 2

ROGUEROGUE 2

LOCKEDROOMLOCKEDROOM 2

MICROCHIPMURDERMICROCHIPMURDER 2

FUNDAMENTALERRORFUNDAMENTALERROR 2

Aconite Kill File gray MSACONITE 2

The differences are subtle and perhaps only noticeable if you have the covers side-by-side, but I’m nevertheless very pleased with the upgrade! What do you think? Improvement or not?


PUBLISHING: How To Set This Book Free On Amazon!

FUNDAMENTALERROR

Amazon doesn’t allow self-publishers to sell their books for free, as loss-leaders, but I have two free stories on Amazon.

Now, I want to set a third story free on Amazon, and I need your help to do that.

Will you help me? It will only take a minute or so. Here’s what you do:

First, copy this Kobo link: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/fundamental-error

Second, follow this link to the page of Fundamental Error on Amazon.com

If you scroll down the Amazon page, you’ll see this under Product Details:

Click on tell us about a lower price and you’ll get a window where it says:
Where did you see this lower price?
Click on ‘Website’ and you’ll get another menu that says:
URL
Price ($)
Shipping cost ($)
Now paste the Kobo url in the URL window
Put 0.00 in price
Put 0.00 in shipping cost
and press Submit Feedback.
That’s it.
I already reported the lower price, but it needs to be reported by several people for Amazon to take action and price match Fundamental Error on Amazon with the free download on Kobo.
I thank you for your help and support.
Sincerely,
Martyn V. Halm

Aconite Attack, the new Katla KillFile, is now live!

Aconite Attack, the fourth KillFile, is now available at Amazon and will soon be available at other retailers*. Click on the cover to go to the Amazon page:

Aconite Kill File gray MS

Assassin Katla finds a devious way to get a target to poison himself…

The Aconite Attack KillFile (10,700 words) follows Katla Sieltjes on her first foray as a freelance assassin and corporate troubleshooter, when she gets herself hired by the CEO of a modelling agency to permanently remove his playboy partner, who is quickly draining the firm’s resources on his downward spiral into self-destruction. Katla finds a way to administer poison to the target, but he has to be isolated for her plan to succeed. Every plan has a fluke factor though, and Katla soon finds herself in a struggle for life and death, when the target reveals his darker side…

The Katla KillFile short stories chronologically precede the novels in the Amsterdam Assassin Series.

Each KillFile features Katla Sieltjes, expert in disguising homicide, executing one of her contracts. While not mandatory reading, each KillFile provides insight both in Katla’s work methods and skill, and additional background information in her character and personal history. The KillFiles can be read out of order, as the contracts are random samples from Katla’s past.

This e-book features a glossary.


 

* Aconite Attack should become available at iBooks, Kobo, B&N, NookUK, Scribd, and other retailers in the coming days, as some retailers take more time to process the publication. Check your favourite retailer by using the links on the main page.


 If you want to read Aconite Attack and review the story on GoodReads/Amazon/Kobo/iTunes/B&N/NookUK, I have free review copies (ePub/Mobi) available, just send me an email.

I hope every Katla fan will enjoy this new novella. Please share this post through the social media buttons below.

Thanks for your support!


Aconite Attack: ARCs now available!

Aconite Attack, the fourth Katla KillFile, will be published in a few days, but you can get an Advance Reader Copy from today! If you’re interested in reading the story before its official launch date and support an independent author, read on:

Aconite Kill File gray MS

Aconite Attack is the fourth Katla KillFile, after Locked Room, Microchip Murder, and Fundamental Error.

The pitch for Aconite Attack:

Assassin Katla finds a devious way to get a target to poison himself…

The Aconite Attack KillFile (10,600 words) follows Katla Sieltjes, freelance assassin and corporate troubleshooter, as she gets herself hired by the CEO of a modelling agency to permanently remove his playboy partner, who is quickly draining the firm’s resources on his downward spiral into self-destruction. Katla finds a way to administer a poison to the target, but he has to be isolated for her plan to succeed. But every plan has a fluke factor, and Katla soon finds herself in a struggle for life and death when the target reveals his darker side…

The Katla KillFile short stories chronologically precede the novels in the Amsterdam Assassin Series.

Each KillFile features Katla Sieltjes, expert in disguising homicide, executing one of her contracts. While not mandatory reading, each KillFile provides insight both in Katla’s work methods and skill, and additional background information in her character and personal history. The KillFiles can be read out of order, as the contracts are random samples from Katla’s past.

This e-book features a glossary.

Aconite Attack will be published on New Years Eve, but a limited amount of Advance Reader Copies will be made available to early reviewers.

“Am I eligible for an ARC of Aconite Attack?”

You do not have to be a reviewer for a magazine or other official publication. All readers are eligible for an ARC, provided they are able to write a review and post it on their blog and retail sites (links to the retail sites will be provided to reviewers on the launch date). Reviews don’t have to be long, but honesty is required. Reviews are for readers to make up their mind if they want to read the story, so it’s important to give a fair assessment of the story’s entertainment value.

“What if I don’t like (parts of) the story?”

Please put that in your review. Readers might share your opinion and avoid reading something they don’t like, or they might not share your opinion and like the story for the reasons you don’t like it. Whatever you do, give your honest opinion.

“How can I apply for an ARC?”

Simple, just send an email to katlasieltjes@yahoo.com with “Aconite ARC” in the subject line and you’ll receive an ePub and a mobi file, so you can choose the device you want to use for reading the story. Download the attached file to your hard drive and upload the file into the e-reader of your preference.

“How long do I have to read the story and write and post my review?”

The story is just over 10,000 words, so most readers can read it in an hour or two, maybe three if they read at a leisurely pace. The review doesn’t have to be long. Just state that you’re reviewing an ARC provided by the author, and what you liked/disliked about the story and why. Posting the review on the retail sites and blogs is a matter of minutes. If possible, post your reviews on the launch date. If you’re late, post the review a day or so later, but preferably no longer than a week after the launch.

All ARCs will be sent out until December 30th. Applications after midnight December 30th will not be considered for ARCs, so send your application email as soon as possible.

Thank you for your support,

Martyn V. Halm

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New Katla KillFile on its way: Aconite Attack

Despite battling my kidney stones, I’ve been working on a new Katla KillFile called Aconite Attack:

Assassin Katla finds a devious way to get a target to poison himself…

The Aconite Attack KillFile follows Katla Sieltjes, freelance assassin and corporate troubleshooter, as she gets herself hired by the CEO of a modelling agency to permanently remove his playboy partner, who is quickly draining the firm’s resources on his downward spiral into self-destruction. Katla finds a way to administer a poison to the target, but he has to be isolated for her plan to succeed. But every plan has a fluke factor, and Katla soon finds herself in a struggle for life and death when the target reveals his darker side…

The Katla KillFile short stories chronologically precede the novels in the Amsterdam Assassin Series.

Each KillFile features Katla Sieltjes, expert in disguising homicide, executing one of her contracts. While not mandatory reading, each KillFile provides insight both in Katla’s work methods and skill, and additional background information in her character and personal history. The KillFiles can be read out of order, as the contracts are random samples from Katla’s past.

This e-book features a glossary.

First peek at the cover:

Aconite Kill File gray MS

Pre-publication snippet:

Katla put away her lock picks and took the oxygen tank from her bag. She covered her face with the biohazard mask before she entered the target’s apartment and closed the door behind her.

Although she had waited a good half hour after Gerard Snuif left, she took no chances and made a slow circuit through the target’s opulent bachelor pad to make sure she was alone before she went into the kitchen and took down the cereal box from the cabinet.

She lifted the plastic bag with cereal from the box and placed the bag on a scale. 114 grammes. So Snuif had eaten more than half the bag, unaware of the source of his complaints.

Probably figured nobody would mess with his cereal.

Katla smiled behind the biohazard mask and took a fresh carton of cereal from her bag. She removed the sealed bag with untainted cereal, measured against the used bag and tore off a corner. She poured 136 grammes of cereal into a bowl and weighed the bag to make sure it contained the exact same amount as the used bag.

Although it was unlikely that Snuif would know exactly how much cereal he had left, she preferred to be meticulous when dealing with poison.

She placed the fresh bag in the used carton and placed the cereal back in the kitchen cabinet. The used bag with the poisoned cereal went into a ziplock bag. She added the 136 grams of untainted cereal and put the bag in the carton in her bag.

Ready.

Leaving the oxygen mask on until she was near the door, Katla went out the same way she came in and used her picks to lock the door behind her.

Now, all she had to hope for was for his partner to be susceptible to her offer. If he didn’t take the bait, all her work had been for nothing.

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